Ethreain the Lich is a ranged intelligence Hero that uses his abilities to slow his enemies down with his ice-based attacks, as well as giving a boost to ally defenses, and serves as a great teamfight ganker with his powerful ultimate. He can use Sacrifice to easily level up and keep his mana high, making him very good at harassing in the early stages of the game. While a relatively frail hero and mostly known as a support, he can prove to be a force to be reckoned and mighty foe to stand with as he can render the attempts of multiple enemies futile with his ultimate, Chain Frost. Lich is a powerful crowd controller and can easily turn a teamfight, or dominate in a lane.
- Lich's skill set allows him to be played effectively in any lane. However, this does not necessarily change his role, only the amount of farm he gets.
- As a safe lane support, Lich has the ability to constantly cast Sacrifice on allied creeps to keep the creep wave close to his tower, denying the enemy off-laner gold and experience and making it easier and safer for his carry to farm. As well, Frost Blast can be used to punish the enemy off-laner if they try to approach for last hits, and his innate movement speed allows him to chase and harass easily.
- As a mid, Lich can constantly harass the enemy mid with Frost Blast, and use Sacrifice to maintain a permanent XP and gold advantage as well as keep the creep wave close to his tower.
- As an off-laner, Lich can cast Sacrifice to pull the creep wave close to his tower, making last-hitting more dangerous for the enemy carry and giving him guaranteed experience and gold. As well, Frost Blast can be used to harass down the enemy and even get kills under the right circumstances, and Ice Armor can give him and his tower a measure of protection against harass and push, respectively.
- Frost Blast is a powerful harassing and nuking spell, as its low cooldown and respectable damage allows it to be used continuously in-lane when combined with Sacrifice.
- Frost Blast has a longer-than-average cast range, allowing Lich to lead ganks with it. It is very powerful when ganking the enemy off-laner as the slow lasts for 4 seconds, allowing teammates with high damage output to capitalize on the slow while Frost Blast's low cooldown allows you to finish off the target soon after if needed.
- Beware, Lich's low base intelligence means that he is unable to cast Frost Blast repeatedly without a source of mana replenishment. As such, it is advisable to get at least one or two levels of Sacrifice so that you do not run out of mana early on.
- Although Frost Blast is a unit target spell, it also has a small radius of effect in which nearby enemies will take minor damage as well as the slow. This makes Frost Blast an imperfect area-of-effect nuke that can help in nuking down creep waves if needed.
- Ice Armor is a powerful defensive spell that is cheap and spammable. Applying the buff to multiple teammates before a fight can give them more survivability against physical attacks.
- Ice Armor can be a useful spell to grab during laning, as it can increase resistance against enemy harass and may even save an ally's life during a gank. Never discount the movement and attack speed slow, as on top of the additional armor it can make pursuing an ally very difficult.
- Remember that Ice Armor can be cast on all allied units, not just heroes. Therefore, it can be useful to apply Ice Armor to the leading melee creep in your lane if you are expecting to push, as it will reduce the damage output of the enemy's creeps as well as give resistance against tower damage, giving your creep wave more survivability.
- One often-forgotten facet of Ice Armor is that it can be cast on allied buildings as well, in particular your towers. If the enemy is employing an early pushing strategy, it may be wise to get a few early levels in Ice Armor, as applying the buff to your tower will greatly reduce the amount of damage it takes even from determined pushes.
- Sacrifice is a very powerful laning spell, as it gives Lich the ability to cast his spells without limit, as well as generate experience for his lane. It should generally be taken as your first spell, as even though you won't need the mana earned from it until you reach level 2, you can "deny" creeps to prevent the enemy from earning gold and experience, and to pull the lane towards your tower. In particular, if you are a side lane support, denying one of the melee creeps in the mid lane just as the creeps spawn will give your mid an early advantage and easier lane control.
- Remember that Sacrifice will share the experience of the targeted creep with all heroes, allied and enemy, within 1300 range. This can be used to your advantage by casting it on a creep before it reaches the front lines, giving experience to yourself and any allies within range but not to the enemy. Done repeatedly over time, this can give your lane a level advantage, allowing your carry to get their ultimate ability faster and getting early kills with it.
- In the same vein as above, Sacrifice can be combined with safe lane camp pulling to further reduce the experience given to the enemy's off-laner. Remember that while a small neutral camp is usually weaker than a wave of lane creeps, consuming one of your lane creeps during a pull will weaken the amount of damage they do to the neutral camp while simultaneously reducing the total amount of damage the neutral camp must do to the lane creeps in order to destroy the wave. Under optimal circumstances, it is possible to completely deny one wave of lane creeps with a single pull, without the needing to stack it first or chain-pull afterward.
- Sacrifice's main utility is in destroying the enemy's early economy and generating an experience advantage for your team, no matter what lane Lich is placed in. Used properly, the spell can guaranteed deny 25% of all gold gain to the enemy per creep wave and effectively steal experience. As well, pulling the creep wave closer to your tower forces the enemy to enter your territory if they want to continue farming and getting experience, making them easier to gank, particularly as Lich can easily harass with Frost Blast as well.
- Creeps spawn every 30 seconds, and Sacrifice's cooldown drops below 30 seconds once it is level 3 or higher. If your goal is to maintain control of the creep wave and gaining a level advantage over harassing the enemy, taking three early levels of Sacrifice will allow you to consume one creep per wave.
- Even in the late game, Sacrifice is very powerful in that it scales with the HP of its target. It is especially powerful when cast on mega-creeps since it will take a percentage of a larger number. However, keep in mind that every creep that you consume also weakens the pushing strength of that lane, so if the objective is to push a lane in order to exert pressure on the enemy's tower, it's recommended to either not cast Sacrifice in that lane, or even out the disparity by using your attacks or spells to push that lane.
- Chain Frost can be one of the most devastating ultimates in the game, and can easily turn a teamfight in your favor when used properly. Use it to deal damage quickly to clustered enemy heroes.
- Be careful about where you cast Chain Frost. If there are multiple enemy creeps around the spell may waste much of its power on them, yet at the same time it is almost useless when cast against a single enemy as it will not bounce. Use your judgment in deciding when Chain Frost is most profitably cast.
- Chain Frost can be used to instantly turn around enemy ganks under the right circumstances. As players often clump together when chasing a target, casting Chain Frost on them can deal large amounts of damage to them, either netting you multiple kills or forcing the enemy to spread out and retreat, breaking up the gank attempt.
- When using Chain Frost in a teamfight, it is recommended to catch as many enemies as possible with Frost Blast prior to using Chain Frost. As the slows stack, reducing the enemy's movement speed by 60% can greatly debilitate their efforts to spread out to avoid the damage. Additionally, you can use Frost Blast to attempt to kill any nearby enemy creeps, so that they will not be available as targets for Chain Frost's bounce and thus waste some of its power.
- One of the biggest disadvantages of Chain Frost is its slow movement speed. This gives time for enemies to split apart, preventing it from bouncing. You can, however, work with heroes that have large area-of-effect disables like Vacuum, Chronosphere, Black Hole, Reverse Polarity, and so on, which lock heroes in place long enough for Chain Frost to run its course and deal full damage. As well, keep in mind that the slow travel speed of the orb can be negated if the enemy is standing in very close proximity, reducing its travel time between targets.
- If Lich catches the enemy team killing Roshan, using Chain Frost will force them to desist and/or deal huge damage to all of them, as Roshan's pit is very difficult to disperse inside, especially when slowed.
- Remember that Chain Frost will mini-stun its target immediately upon casting, through spell immunity. If an enemy has activated spell immunity and is trying to use a Town Portal Scroll to escape, you can stop them with Chain Frost. This can be crucial for getting a key pick-off for taking a map objective or discouraging the enemy from fighting until their teammate respawns.
- After Aghanim's Scepter is acquired, Lich can cast Chain Frost on spell immune Ancient camps or Mud Golem camps to make the jungle dangerous to traverse or impossible to farm, as the spell will indefinitely bounce, turning those camps into hazard areas that the enemy cannot easily approach.
- Lich can benefit from building numerous other items than those listed under recommendation.
- Iron Branches are cheap and can give Lich good stats at the cost of inventory space, so they are a more cost-effective purchase as starting items than Gauntlets of Strength. They can be used to build Mekansm components or upgrade your Magic Stick.
- Magic Stick is useful on all heroes, and in particular on supports, so buying one on Lich is highly recommended during laning. It can be upgraded into a Magic Wand for additional stats and more burst regen.
- Upgrading the Animal Courier to a Flying Courier is the duty of a support, even at to cost of obtaining Boots of Speed.
- As a support, Lich should regularly purchase Observer Wards and Sentry Wards for giving his team map vision and removing that of the enemy.
- If a teammate is already building an Urn of Shadows, purchasing a Bracer instead will give Lich just as much HP, as well as bonuses in other stats. It can also be upgraded into a Drum of Endurance for even more stats and additional movement speed, as well as a mobility active to use in teamfights or while chasing/escaping.
- Medallion of Courage is a good utility support item as Lich is a ranged hero that does not get into the thick of battles. Using the active ability on an enemy during a gank will allow teammates to further capitalize on any slows you place on them, and using it on an ally synergizes with Ice Armor, giving them immense physical survivability. As well, it can be used to reduce Roshan's armor, making Aegis attempts more efficient.
- Ghost Scepter is very useful on Lich as it gives him stats across the board and a method with which he can evade physical damage, giving him time to cast more spells if he is jumped on by the enemy's carry.
- Necronomicon is a good teamfight utility item to build. The item's stats give Lich more strength and intelligence, and the summoned warriors allow him to contribute more in teamfights. As well, gold gain can be denied to the enemy by casting Sacrifice on the warriors if they are about to killed.
- Pipe of Insight is a powerful utility item to build for your team, as it can protect them from magic nukes, synergizing with your ability to protect them from physical damage by casting Ice Armor on them. The passive HP regen also allows Lich to maintain his HP pool without returning to base to heal, while Sacrifice maintains his mana pool.
- Refresher Orb will increase Lich's damage output with Chain Frost by a very large margin, especially if it is a follow-up to large disabling teamfight abilities. It is highly recommended to build up your mana pool first though, as Chain Frost itself costs 500 mana at level 3, meaning that the combo will cost upwards of 1375 mana, excluding other spells.
- Helm of the Dominator is an unorthodox but useful utility item to purchase on Lich. Converting a jungle creep will allow you to contribute more in teamfights, whether with auras or disables, and in a pinch you can cast Sacrifice on it to replenish your mana by a large amount, as the dominated creep will have a larger health pool due to being converted.
- Lich's voice actor, Gary Schwartz, also voiced the Heavy and Demoman classes in Team Fortress 2, another title by Valve. Lich's lines, "UM NUM NUM" refer to a line said by the Heavy: the first is an alternate to "OM NOM NOM", used when the Sandvich Edible Device is consumed.
- In the first iteration of Invoker's abilities, when the order of his three orbs determined the spell that was invoked, Frost Nova was one of his abilities and functioned almost identically to the current spell, and was mapped to Quas Quas Exort. Crystal Maiden also had the same Frost Nova ability with small differences in numbers.
- Lich is almost entirely based on a Warcraft 3 hero. His title (Lich), DotA name (Kel'Thuzad) and all his spells except the ultimate are same as the original Warcraft 3 hero, although entirely rebalanced around Dota.
- In his transition to Dota2, he kept his title (Lich), but his name got changed due to copyright reasons, since Kel'Thuzad is a notable character from the Warcraft universe.
- Lich's response Play "Dead man drifting." is a reference to the line Play "Dead man walking." spoken by the Warcraft 3 hero.
- Anatomically, Lich's cranium has no visible sutures, another proof of his age.
- Fixed the order of damage instances on Frost Nova.
- Fixed Frost Armor auto-casting while Lich is channeling.
- Fixed Chain Frost not working with Refresher.
- Fixed Chain Frost being dodgable.
- Fixed the following spells being castable on magic immune allies: Nightmare, Frost Armor, Nature's Guise, Holy Persuasion, Decrepify, Astral Imprisonment, Shadow Word and X Marks The Spot.
- Fixed timing on Chain Frost ministun.
- Fixed Chain Frost having a chance to end prematurely near fog of war edges.
- Fixed a recent bug where chainfrost wouldn't choose a magic immune target to bounce to.
- Fixed Chain Frost deciding late as to which unit it will bounce to next (it would decide after its bounce delay, instead of before).
- Frost Armor sound effect now plays when the buff is refreshed.
- Fixed Lich's Dark Ritual being usable on couriers.
- Added a new custom effect for Lich's Frost Armor.
- Lich's Chain Frost is now more visible.
- Fixed Dark Ritual not being castable on some units.
- Fixed Frost Armor affecting Magic Immune attackers.
- Dark Ritual can no longer target summoned units.
- Adjusted Chainfrost bounce speed.
- Units sacrificed via Dark Ritual won't give deny XP to enemies.
- Dark Ritual now displays mana restored.
- Fixed Chain Frost and Paralyzing Cask such that they now bounce correctly when their target unit dies/dodges.
- Added projectile vision to Windrunner's Powershot and Lich's Chain Frost.
- Fixed Chain Frost stopping immediatly once it finds a magic immune unit.
- New model for Lich, who is re-enabled!
- Fixed Chain Frost initial cast being unable to target magic immune (ministun still works on them).
- Fixed Chain Frost bounces slowing all magic immune.
- Fixed Lich not playing his attack sound.
- Fixed Chain Frost hitting couriers.
- Fixed Frost Armor to only autocast on heroes.
- Added shield icon for Lich's Frost Armor
- Frost Nova not applying the slow debuff to the target.
- Frost Armor proccing on ranged attacks.
- Chain Frost cooldown from 145/115/60 to 120/90/60
- Ice Armor now slows ranged heroes for the full amount (instead of half).
- Ice Armor can now be cast on spell immune allies.
- Frost Armor can now be cast on buildings.
- Aghanim's Scepter Chain Frost no longer has a bounce limit.
- Frost Armor: has half effect against ranged heroes.
- Slow now stacks with the slow from Frost Nova.
- Cooldown increased from 35/30/25/20 to 44/36/28/20.
- Mana gain increased from 15/30/45/60% to 25/40/55/70%.
- No longer denies enemy XP.
- Now converts your own creep for XP (shared in AoE as normal creep xp bounty).
- Chain Frost bounce count increased from 7 to 10.
- Frost Blast cooldown decreased from 9.25/9.25/9.25/8 to 8.
- Added a 0.2 second buffer time between Chain Frost bounces (to prevent instant explosions for nearby units after the most recent code change).
- Sacrifice cooldown rescaled from 30/27/24/21 to 35/30/25/20.
- Frost Blast primary target damage increased from 50/100/125/175 to 50/100/150/200.
- Ice Armor
- Manacost increased from 25 to 50.
- Armor bonus reduced from 3/6/9/12 to 3/5/7/9.
- Sacrifice cooldown reduced from 55/50/45/40 to 30/27/24/21.
- Movement speed increased by 10.
- Starting damage rescaled from 37-56 to 42-51.
- Frost Blast Level 4 cooldown decreased from 9.25 to 8.
- Movement speed increased by 10.
- Chain Frost bounces count increased from 6 to 7.
- Increased Lich attack range from 500 to 550.
- Added an extra bounce to Scepter upgraded Chain Frost
- Improved Frost Armor
- Undid small part of the previous Dark Ritual nerf (was nerfed from 45 second cooldown to 60/55/50/45 before, and now to 55/50/45/40)
- Dark Ritual cooldown from 45 to 60/55/50/45
- Chain Frost cast range reduced from 800 to 750. Scepter version increased from 800 to 850.
- Reduced Lich's attack range from 600 to 500
- Lich movespeed buffed from 280 to 295
- Chain frost bounce from 7 to 6
- Reduced lich starting int from 20->18
- Reduced str per lvl on Lich from 1.75 to 1.55
- Gave Lich Icy Hands back
- Lich nova now costs 125/150/170/190 from 100/125/155/180
- Lich attack range changed from 570 to 600
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